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Ultrasound for Hip Dysplasia

What is ultrasound for hip dysplasia?

Ultrasound for hip dysplasia is a fast, safe, and noninvasive imaging technique that evaluates the muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and bones of a child’s hip area using sound waves. Hip dysplasia is the term for a medical condition in which the hip socket doesn’t fully cover the ball portion of the upper thighbone, increasing the risk of hip dislocation. The condition is usually present at birth (congenital). Doctors will perform a hip examination on your baby at birth and during well-baby checks.

By using a special ultrasound transducer, this test can visualize internal body structures without exposing the child to ionizing radiation (X-rays). Ultrasound has no known harmful side effects, and it is a fast, non-invasive way for doctors to evaluate soft tissues that don’t show up on regular X-ray exams. This technique is especially useful to visualize the appearance, size, consistency, and shape of internal structures and abnormalities.

The ultrasound transducer sends out small pulses of high-frequency sound waves. When pressed against the skin, the transducer transmits the sound waves that bounce off structures in the body. The transducer picks up the rebounding sound waves, and, with the help of a computer, the characteristics of a structure can be determined.

Ultrasound is performed for babies up to 4 months of age when a doctor sees sign of hip dysplasia, such as hip stiffness or a difference in leg length. Symptoms are often noticed during the newborn health assessment or at a well-baby check.

Benefits

  • Ultrasound for hip dysplasia is an inexpensive, fast, and noninvasive way to assess structures in and around the hip joint.
  • Ultrasound does not expose the child to any ionizing radiation (X-rays).
  • Unlike MRI, ultrasound is safe in patients with any type of metal in their body, including implantable medical devices.
  • Ultrasound is very safe and has no known side effects.
  • Contrast agents are not used for this ultrasound exam.
  • Ultrasound can detect soft tissue abnormalities that cannot be seen with regular X-ray exams.

Risks

  • The use of diagnostic ultrasound has no known risks or harmful effects.
  • Ultrasound for hip dysplasia is performed at ARA Children’s Imaging Center, a hospital, or a medical center.
  • You will need to remove your child’s clothing.
  • You will be able to accompany your child during the entire exam.
  • A technologist will place the child on their side on an exam table. Your child may have to change position during the exam so the technologist can get a better view of the hip area.
  • A warm gel will be placed on the area to be examined. The gel creates a sealed contact between the skin and the ultrasound probe. This eliminates any air pockets that may interfere with imaging. The probe will be moved around to capture images from different locations.
  • The technologist or radiologist performing the exam may have to apply pressure with the probe to the body part being examined. If the area is tender, the child might experience some discomfort.
  • The radiologist will come into the examination room to take 2 images.

To help the infant remain still for the ultrasound, be sure they are well fed and have small toys to distract them during the examination.

To schedule an ultrasound, please speak to your health care provider and call our scheduling team at (512) 453-6100 or toll free at (800) 998-8214. A health care provider referral is required to make an appointment.

A radiologist, a physician specifically trained to interpret radiological examinations, will analyze the images and send a signed report to the provider who referred you to ARA. The health care provider will then share the results with you. Your report will also be available on the patient portal within 15 days.

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ARA and Coronavirus

In order to minimize the risk of spreading coronavirus, we have made adjustments to our care processes to keep you safe. These include screening patients and employees, requiring masks, enhanced cleaning, limiting visitors to the clinics, and maintaining social distancing. Find out more on our Coronavirus Response page.

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